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Journal of Cancer Rehabilitation


Background: Self-reported upper extremity function and objective measures are not strongly associated with each other in women treated for breast cancer (BC). It is not known if the lack of relationship between self-reported upper extremity function and objective measurements may be influenced by perceived levels of stress and fear of physical activity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between self-reported upper extremity function and the following: perceived stress levels (PS), fear of physical activity (FPA), health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and objective measures of upper extremity function among women treated for BC.

Methods: This cross-sectional observational study included 23 women diagnosed with breast cancer 12-60 months prior to data collection. Self-reported upper extremity function, PS, HRQOL and FPA were assessed using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast Cancer (FACT-B), and Fear of Physical Activity and Exercise for Breast Cancer (FPAX-B), respectively. Objective shoulder measures included range of motion (ROM), strength, and muscular endurance.

Results: The DASH was significantly correlated (p<0.001) with the FACT-B, PSS, and FPAX-B (r=-0.863; r= -0.733; r= -0.709 respectively). No significant correlation was found between the DASH and objective measures except non-dominant shoulder endurance (p<0.05, r=-0.432).

Conclusions: There is a significant relationship between the self-reported arm function, PS, HRQOL and FPA among women treated for BC. Further research should be done to understand the role that PS and FPA have on the perceived level of upper extremity function that women treated for BC report.

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